Children having social media accounts is now a common occurrence as they use it to stay connected and updated with their peers and the latest trends.
However, we all know that the internet is a scary place that could potentially harm your child.
As a parent, you may be at a loss about whether it is safe to let your child use social media, and how you can ensure that they are being safe on the platform.
Social media can actually be advantageous with the right motivations. Here are some ways that your child can put social media to good use:
Build their portfolio
Social media is a great way for your child to showcase their interests. For example, if they are interested in photography, they can post up their works to show their future employers, clients, or to gain recognition.
As compared to just keeping their works in their personal drive, uploading their works onto social media is beneficial because the interactions (e.g. likes, comments, shares) or attention that they get on their posts can be used as substantial evidence to back up the success of their endeavours.
Furthermore, they can obtain feedback from their audience through the comments.
Get to know new people
With the constant improvements made to the social media platforms, there are now many functions that can allow your child to get to know new people.
For example, they are able to see mutual friends, stumble upon new posts or people on discovery pages.
They can also easily “slide” into their Direct Messages to strike a conversation with them.
The power of social media can help to expand their network and connections, which is extremely important in this day and age.
Connect with friends
As with the original purpose of social media, it is used to connect people and allow them to share their lives with others.
In our busy society, it is difficult for students to meet up face-to-face to catch up often, hence social media is a convenient platform for them to know what their friends are up to.
This is beneficial as they are able to keep in touch with old contacts and share their experiences, even if they don’t have their contact number in an old-school way.
Here are things that your child will need to be careful about in order to stay safe on social media:
Don’t post anything that could harm their reputation
It is important that your child carefully considers the consequences before they post anything on social media.
This includes posts, videos, ‘stories’, ‘lives’ — even if it’s just a comment — it could come back to bite them.
They need to be very careful to never put themselves in a compromising light.
‘Cancel culture’ is becoming increasingly prominent and it is easy for internet users to cyberbully because they are hiding behind a screen.
However, a cyberbully can always end up being punished for their actions. It could be the school authorities, their future employers, or even the police, who will hold them accountable.
If in doubt, it is always better to stay silent. Your child should refrain from joining in heated online discussions.
Social media is an extra-dangerous place because what goes on the internet, stays on the internet. There are always means to expose social media activities even if they attempt to delete them.
Don’t hop on to just any trend
Not all trends are positive or appropriate. It is difficult to control what your child sees on the internet, and children tend to follow the masses blindly.
For example, two teenagers in Singapore got into trouble with the police for following the worldwide TikTok trend ‘devious licks’ whereby they steal public property.
TikTok is a social media platform that attracts the younger generation due to the short-form videos and algorithm that plays to their interests.
Even though it seems like a no-brainer that stealing is a crime, many children and teenagers from all around the world jumped on the bandwagon after seeing the trend go viral on TikTok, without thinking twice.
When using social media, children must judge for themselves whether or not what they’re doing is right, or ask a trusted adult when they’re unsure.
With the progressions in our society, social media has unfortunately taken a turn to pose dangers in many ways, especially for children.
It is difficult to fully supervise your children on social media as a parent as it is probably invasive for them too. However, you can sit down and have a talk with them to let them understand how they can use social media appropriately and to their advantage.
Want more parenting tips? Read our other articles here.